Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

Document Type



Wetlands are very dynamic ecosystems and are featured all over the world’s landscape. Recent studies suggested that wetlands are in continuous decline, both and quantity and quality and between 64-71% is the estimated global wetland loss in the 20th century (Davidson 2014; Gardner et al., 2015). Therefore, as wetland loss increases around the world, more effort to protect and restore wetland habitat, values, and services become crucial. For this reason, the Ramsar Convention was established four decades ago to highlight the severity of wetland loss and to produce guidelines that aim to guide Contracting Parties toward sustainable and efficient management of their wetlands natural resources. To date, 169 countries have signed the agreement and become Contracting Parties. The research questions addressed in this study are: Which Ramsar Member Countries are more able or willing to participate in the Convention and successfully implement its milestones or pillars? What factors account for variation in the level of commitment to the Ramsar Convention among Contracting Parties? What is role of the Ramsar’s Convention in protecting wetlands in urban sites? Using information available through the Ramsar Convention administration, more successful implementation at the sites level is indicated by three variables: the number of years since entry into force to the Ramsar Convention, the number of designated sites, and the number of available management plans, aggregated through Principal Components Analysis (PCA). Next, Thirteen independent variables were selected to examine their relation to the dependent variable, level of policy development for wetlands protection at designated sites level. These independent variables were categorized as follows: socioeconomic attributes, environmental pressures, government type, and programmatic characteristics. Statistical analysis including bi-variate Correlation analysis, and multiple regression analysis were used to identify key influences that play a role in the successful implementation of the Ramsar Convention among Member Countries and, thus, reduce wetland loss. Overall, the findings suggest that the commitment to protect wetlands may be more easily achieved in countries with the government and societal infrastructure to better support human health and well-being. Countries with fewer elements of such infrastructure appear to face additional challenges in protecting wetlands.



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Committee Chair

Reams, Margaret